The effects of a physical stressor, cold water stress (CWS), within the central nervous system were investigated in the acute phase of infection with Toxoplasma gondii. Female BALB/c mice were subjected to CWS for 5 min each day for 8 days prior to oral infection with 20 cysts of the low virulent ME 49 strain. Animals were killed at 10-day intervals to detect inflammation, gliosis, and expression of intracerebral cytokine mRNAs. Zones of inflammation were detected by Nissl staining and gliosis by immunoreactivity to glial fibrillary acidic protein. Larger zones of inflammation and reactive astrogliosis were consistently observed in mice subjected to CWS and infected (CWS+INF) compared to control infected (INF) mice. Expression of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-2, IL-12, interferon (IFN)-γ, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) were decreased in CWS+INF mice at 10 days postinoculation (PI), followed by a gradual increase after day 20 PI. This was in contrast to increased expression of these cytokines at 10 days PI in INF mice with a gradual decline thereafter. Inflammation and astrogliosis in CWS+INF mice were associated with an increased expression of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-12, and TNF-α between 20 and 30 days PI. These findings correlated with the continuous gene expression of tachyzoite surface antigen (SAG)-1 mRNA in CWS+INF mice compared to its sharp decline in INF mice after 20 days PI. These results suggest that CWS delays regulation and control of intracerebral Toxoplasma gondii during acute infection in BALB/c mice by decreasing the early expression of IFN-γ, IL-2, TNF-α, iNOS, IL-1β, and IL-12, while increasing the expression of IL-6, a counterregulatory cytokine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics